Sherman Ave's Guide to Choosing a Fake Name

Sherman Ave's Guide to Choosing a Fake Name


Gene Parmesan, the master of disguise. (via Wise beyond their years, the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music once sang “Me, a name I call myself.” Those curtain-wearing tykes were certainly on to something, because what you call yourself is important. Although most people* don’t get to choose their given names, they do get to choose their equally-as-important-if-not-more-so go-to fake name. In college, fake names matter. When you’re placing a delivery order over the phone, are you really going to repeat your suddenly-difficult-to-comprehend name for the fifth time in a row? When that creepy guy from the bar won’t stop talking to you, are you going to give him any sort of information that could potentially lead to him finding you on social media/your place of work/where you live? If you’re flirting with a beautiful, exotic stranger whom after tonight you will never see again, are you going to ruin that by telling them your name is something lame like Mary? As a publication that has spawned a writer named Toaster Oven, Sherman Ave is all too familiar the importance of pseudonyms and has devised this handy guide.

1. Have a plan

A pseudonym is a lot like a penis; it is not something you just whip out, unannounced, without giving it any thought. Rather, when the time is right, a pseudonym is presented. You should have your pseudonym in mind before you down those five shots of Burnett’s or the barista at Starbucks is waiting for a name to write on your cup. Otherwise, you will panic, you will say something stupid, and you will be unconvincing. And sharing your pseudonym only to have it be mocked is about as emotionally scarring as if the same situation were to occur with your wiener.

2. Make it creative, but not too creative

If my statistics are correct, there’s about a 25% chance that if you’re reading this your name is Sam or Nick or Hannah or Sarah. And sure, your parent’s really fucked that one up by giving you a name that required additional identification by the first letter of your last name in every classroom that you ever set foot in, but now is your shot at redemption. How many Ammonia$tas do you know? Because I would like to see a classroom where you’re forced to go by Ammonia$ta H. Still, as much as I would love to be able to tell you to go balls to the wall with picking a name, it’s usually best to stick with a name that is at least somewhat recognizable, but not too common, so that it’s easily pronounced and believed.

3. Do not forget your name

Okay, sure, this seems super obvious. Like what’s next, am I going to remind you to breathe or to not ingest anti-freeze? Hear me out though. When you pick a name, you need to believe you are that name. Otherwise when asked for your last name, you will blurt out Frank. Which would be a fine, if you hadn’t already told this creep-o that your first name is Ann, so yes, now he is expected to believe that your name is Ann Frank. Well done.

4. Do not ingest anti-freeze

How can anything the same electric, corn-syrupy color as Kool-Aid not taste delicious??

5. Use your pseudonym as often as you can

So you can become more accustomed to and comfortable with your fake name, right? Nope, because lying is fun and you should do it as often as possible. It’s thrilling.



“Felicity Jenkins”


*Except those kids whose parents use “alternative” childrearing methods. They get to choose their own names at age five, which, coincidentally, is the same age at which they stop breastfeeding.

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